If you’ve known me well enough, you’ll know that for years, I’ve ranted about Disney princesses and the idea of princesses all together. The concept that you are special because of who you are, not necessarily what you’ve done, is a very British one instead of an American one. No matter what’s going on in life, it’s okay because your Prince Charming or fairy godmother will come to rescue you. You will be called into the life you were always meant to live. It’s such a despicable idea that gives girls false hope as they expect things to go their way because they are unique. I’ve always been more of a “you have to work for what you get” person – we should teach our youth that what you do, not who you are, will take you where you need to be through gritty self-determination and good ol’ fashion elbow grease.
I think the joke is on me because I think I’m that little girl hoping, waiting, wishing to be a princess. Poor despicable me. I’ve come to the realization that indeed, I find myself wishing for fairytales. The people that I idolize will come to recognize who I am and value me for that, not for being a fan. That some Prince Charming will swoop down and save Cinderella-me from my life of monotony, realizing that though I am poor in resources, people and self-marketing and self-worth – my writing is worth something – that it’s not just some schlock that just anyone can write.
Instead, the people I idolize don’t know me from jack --- but why should they? Instead, perhaps I don’t have the gritty self-determination that I need in order to make it by writing. I’m too easily discouraged and take a long time to recover from the knockdowns. Perhaps I even have too many romantic notions of how I’m going to meet the love of my life, and instead, I let them all by, unaware and always too late when it comes to true realization. Poor despicable me.
Of course, if I were to complain about all these circumstances and say it’s unfair – you could rightly call me “emo” as has been accused of previously. However, this is a lament, not a complaint. I observe (because that is what I do—observe and not participate) that much, if not all of this, is my fault. What will blaming others accomplish? I am the awkward one that puts people at arm’s length because it’s hard for me to let others see me as vulnerable. I’m the one with all the expectations for my friends that they cannot live up to because life goes on, and they have their lives to live while I stay back here alone. I’m the one who puts all these barriers up because I don’t want to be hurt in the way my imagination foresees. I’m the one who believes in fairy tales even while knowing that they don’t come true. Despicable me.
Perhaps fortunately, a great man once told his son, “Why do we fall, Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.” Despite all this darkness, despite all the hurt, there has to be hope, right? The question is “what do we hope in?” Do we hope in some karmic forces that say that eventually something good must happen? Do we hope in fallible people who despite their great intentions, cannot possible live up to all the promises they make or we perceive in them? Do we hope in ourselves – our fragile and fickle selves that will often just deceive us into thinking things are okay? There are so many places we can draw our hope from – most of them a false trap door that drops into a Star Wars-esque trash compactor that will crush our dreams. Each of us must determine if the object in which we hope in is worthy of that hope.
So perhaps the question you have is “What do you, author, hope in?” I know what I’ve described is very dark, and it’s something I live with on a daily basis. So what does this author who hates happy songs and loves the sad songs hope in? What does he who smiles knowingly at the bald optimism of others hope in? I hope in the one who had a plan for a twenty year slave named Joseph. Despite all the injustices he endured, he was able to save his family from a famine and forgive his brothers. I hope in the one who provided a church for my congregation after twenty years of looking and several almost and heartbreaks. I hope in the one who saved my life fourteen years ago when I was in the ICU for three months. I hope in the one who has saved countless many of my friends who almost died as well or almost lost their eyesight. I will hope in the one who has made promises in the Bible that He has a plan for those who love and trust Him. That is the only hope that can assuage the darkness in me—the aloneness in me – the failure in me. I’m not perfect – far from it – but I have hope, and that’s the only thing that can carry me when I’m in the throes of a despicable me. Maybe I'm not special. Maybe I will never achieve the successes that I want in my writing. It doesn't matter because I'm going to pick myself up. I have to. I have to fight. Even if I might not win in the way I want, I fight. Why do you pick yourself up? What is the hope you have?